People often wonder about the true differences between regular ice cream and soft serve ice cream. Is soft serve really just melted ice cream? This is what many people automatically assume. But soft serve ice cream is not simply ice cream that has been allowed to sit outside of a freezer for an extended period of time until it melts into a runny consistency. Soft serve is actually a product that is lower in milk fat than regular ice cream – soft serve usually contains 3-6 percent milk fat as opposed to 10-18 percent milk fat in the regular hard variety. Also, soft serve is not produced at the same temperature as is hard ice cream. Another difference is that soft serve ice cream contains a considerable amount of air – which makes it taste creamier, smoother, and lighter than hard ice cream.
Soft serve ice cream is a much newer concept than regular hard ice cream. It’s only been sold in commercial settings since the late 1930s. It’s said that Tom Carvel, who was the original founder of Carvel ice cream, “invented” soft serve. The way the story goes, Mr. Carvel was driving his ice cream truck through Hartsdale, New York when he had to pull over because his truck had a flat tire. When the ice cream in his truck began to melt, he decided he had to quickly sell it to the people in the vicinity. His customers loved the ice cream – despite the fact that it was melting. It was at this point that Mr. Carvel came up with the idea for a soft serve ice cream business.
The very first Carvel store opened in 1936 – ironically in the same location where his original ice cream truck had a break-down, and sold a newly developed soft serve recipe. And the rest is history! Eventually, Carvel stores opened in many areas across the country. Today, Carvel is one of the most popular and well-known soft serve ice cream brands in the United States.
Anyone who lived within close proximity of a Carvel store in the 1980s surely remembers this unforgettably famous Carvel television commercial – “Carvel Cookie Puss Doll Commercial” from 1985!
Today, there are Carvel soft serve ice cream stores in Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont and Virginia.
There are theories as to how Carvel came up with the Cookie Puss name, but all explanations are currently considered “Carvel lore.” The Cookie Puss cake is described by Carvel as follows: “This frozen friend turns any party into a celebration, with layers of freshly made vanilla and chocolate ice cream separated by a layer of chocolate crunchies, all topped with a scoop of chocolate ice cream in a sugar cone, with two chocolate chip cookies, white icing, milk fudge, and shredded coconut.”
Chances are that if you live in a state with a Carvel, you’ve tasted a Carvel Cookie Puss soft serve ice cream cake at one point or another during your lifetime. If you have, let us know if it was your all-time favorite Carvel treat!